Player Nicknames

We often remember the AFL players for their colorful nicknames as much as for their accomplishments on the field.  Here is a list of many of those great nicknames.  If you can think of more, please post a message and I will add them to the list!

  • Lance “Bambi” Alworth
  • “Mini” Max Anderson
  • John “Bull” Bramlett
  • Marlin “The Magician” Briscoe
  • Junious “Buck” Buchanan
  • Ed “Bluto” Budde
  • George “Butch” Byrd
  • Gino “Duke” Cappelletti
  • Reg “Sniff” Carolan
  • Francis “Cotton” Davidson
  • Lenny “The Cool” Dawson
  • Tom “Tippy” Day
  • Elbert “Golden Wheels” Dubenion
  • Leslie “Speedy” Duncan
  • Larry “Wildman” Eisenhauer
  • Bill “Earthquake” Enyart
  • Wilbur “Weeb” Ewbank
  • Earl “Tree” Faison
  • Serafino “Foge” Fazio
  • Gary “The Grey Ghost” Garrison
  • Carlton “Cookie” Gilchrist
  • Jon “Guppy” Gilliam
  • Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin
  • Ted “Alley Oop” Greene
  • John “Froggy” Hadl
  • Abner “Butch” Haynes
  • Sherrill “Psycho” Headrick
  • Mack “Truck” Hill
  • Robert “The Tank” Holmes
  • E.J. “The Beast” Holub
  • Jim “Earthquake” Hunt
  • Rich “Tombstone” Jackson
  • Harry “The Baby Faced Assassin” Jacobs
  • John “Curley” Johnson
  • Ernie “The Giant Cat” Ladd
  • Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica
  • Willie “Bear” Lanier
  • “Riverboat” Richie Lucas
  • Don “Sunshine” Maynard
  • Jerry “Huzza-Huzza” Mays
  • Curtis “The Count” McClinton
  • Edward “Wahoo” McDaniel
  • Ron “The Dancing Bear” McDole
  • Warren “Motor Mouse” McVea
  • Ron “The Intellectual Assassin” Mix
  • Leroy “Sweet Pea” Moore
  • “Broadway” Joe Namath
  • Walt “Buffalo” Napier
  • Vito “Babe” Parilli
  • Frank “The Riddler” Pitts
  • Gerrard “Buster” Ramsey
  • Gloster “Slick” Richardson
  • Johnny “Candyman” Robinson
  • Paul “Rocky” Rochester
  • Tom “Big Ses” Sestak
  • Dave “The Ripon Ripper” Smith
  • Jim “Jetstream” Smith
  • Noland “Super Gnat” Smith
  • Ed “Butch” Songin
  • Stewart “Smokey” Stover
  • Walt “Suds” Sweeney
  • Gene “Univac” Thomas
  • Jim “Pumpkin Head” Tyrer
  • Ernie “Big Hoss” Warlick
  • Fred “The Hammer” Williamson
  • Jerrel “Thunder Foot” Wilson
Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

3 Responses to Player Nicknames

  1. 1967 says:

    A few other old Chiefs nicks/may or may not be worth listing online:

    Curt ‘Mother’ Merz [later worked in radio the KC area]

    Otis ‘Slug’ Taylor – also ‘Keghead’ [ SPORT magazine/Arnold Hano 1967; Otis slow-moving ways the reason the first nick, latter because his head ‘was’ big]

    Mike ‘Elmer Fudd’ Garrett [LIFE magazine January 13, 1967]

    Willie ‘Top Cat’ Mitchell [ various KC media guides]

    Curtis ‘The Count’ McClinton [various KC media guides]

    Noland ‘Super Gnat’ Smith was also known as ‘Jet’ [ he actually preferred Jet to Super Gnat, but the latter was the more renowned]

    Len Dawson was also referred to as ‘Bad Body’ [QB Magazine, 1971]

    Wendell ‘King’ Hayes [various KC media guides]

  2. Tom says:

    Dave Smith “The Ripon Ripper” and Gino Capellitti “Duke”

  3. Paul Beaver says:

    Kenny “The Snake” Stabler (Oakland QB)Stabler was drafted in the second round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He didn’t get a chance to play until 1970. He falls on the cusp of being an AFL/NFL player.

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